Mortgage rates fell back toward historic lows this week after ticking up a week ago.
The average rate on 30-year loans fell to 3.54% this week, from 3.63%, a high for the year, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, and the highest rate since August 2012.
Fifteen-year loans averaged 2.72% this week vs. 2.79% a week ago, Freddie says.
Mortgage rates at these levels have helped lift home sales from the doldrums to a modest recovery. The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that sales of existing homes hit a 3-year high in February, running at a 4.98 million annual rate.
Freddie Mac surveys lenders Monday through Wednesday each week and the results are posted on Thursdays.
By Ray Goldbacher